An impressive studio shot that lays bare the artifice used to make these images work: the painted backdrop with visible border, the matching design shoes and carpet, the desk or piano the woman's arm is resting on, surrounded by an oval frame common
Usually, dancing women were unnamed, even when they become famous (for example, Gohar Jan became a "Bombay beauty"). In this case however perhaps her name or fame justified a different approach, and it was better marketing by the unknown publisher to
Dancing girl of India on a popular Tuck's painted postcard, probably signed by G.E. McCulloch. Nautch or nach, a word used in several languages of North India, is an Indian term for "dance", and indicates several forms of popular dancing styles.
Nautch dancers inspired stories like Hassan Shah’s The Nautch Girl, “the first known modern Indian novel” in the 1790s, as well as the first Urdu novel, the story of the Lucknow courtesan Umrao Jaan Ada in 1899.
A version of this card was sent by
An annual tradition in Peshawar in the early part of the 20th century and probably well beforehand, Peshwar's nautch women would dance through the streets watched and cheered by thousands of onlookers.
Every city had its female dancers, or "nautch women" and they were often showed with the musicians who played, assisted and sometimes protected and managed them as well.
Buchwa Jan must have been one of the leading singers or dancers in Karachi to have warranted a named postcard.